Reston, VA

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project teams have completed the train control system connections for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Tie-In

This connects the line to the rest of the region’s transit system and is a major step towards the completion of the rail line extension from the Wiehle-Reston East Station through Dulles Airport to Ashburn in eastern Loudoun County, according to a statement from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

Rail project crews were able to complete the tie-in work at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail while working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The WMATA closed some Orange and Silver lines for maintenance work, according to the statement, allowing for crews to complete the Wiehle-Reston East work faster. 

“Finishing the critical tie-in this summer means 13 previously planned WMATA shutdowns that had been planned over the coming months will not be needed,” said Charles Stark, the Airports Authority senior vice president and head of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. 

There will be three additional one-day shutdowns in November and December for systems and dynamic testing. 

The project is aiming to turn over Phase 2 of the Silver Line to the WMATA around the first of the year, said the statement. Once construction and testing are complete, the Airports Authority will give authority to the WMATA. 

The first phase of the Silver Line project from East Falls Church to Wiehle-Reston East with four stations in Tysons opened in 2014, according to the statement. Completion of Phase 2 from Wiehle Ave. to Ashburn will include stops at the Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport and Loudoun Gateway stations.  

Photo courtesy of Dusty Smith

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is offering residents free bus fare and prizes this week to celebrate Try Transit Week, which is in effect through Friday.

Fairfax County residents can try transit and go car-free with a free $50 Smart Trip Card to use on transit or parking at county Metrorail parking garages to residents. In order to receive the gift card, residents must complete an online survey. Social media users can also share photos of their “smart commuting” experience on the FCODT’s Facebook for a chance to win a free Echo Dot.

Other regional and statewide partners are also offering other promotions:

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is invested in improving the infrastructure and resources to give commuters choices to get to work or get around town. Fairfax County invites residents to try some of these options during Try Transit Week and Car Free Days to build better commuting habits that will benefit us personally and globally today and well into the future,” according to FCDOT.

File photo

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Cars from Train Near Wiehle-Reston East Detach While Moving — Commuters were appalled Monday night when cars from a train approaching Wiehle-Reston East separated on the track. The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission is now investigating the incident. In a statement, the commission said the first of two cars of a six-car train uncoupled while the train was moving. An investigation is underway.  [Washington Metrorail Safety Commission]

How Reston Became the Place for Tech Expansion — “Sandwiched between major roadways within its close proximity to the nation’s capital, Reston has grown to become a noteworthy technology town in Northern Virginia. Located in an area often dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the East,” Reston continues to see significant growth in the technology sector.” [ICS Blog]

County Responds to Public Record Requests — The volume and complexity of Freedom of Information Act requests continues to increase. Last year, the county received 8,459 FOIA requests, an average of 34 requests per working day. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Weekend Metro track work outside of Reagan National Airport station (file photo)This morning Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld outlined the agency’s plan for working through Metrorail’s deferred maintenance backlog.

The “safety surge,” dubbed SafeTrack, “accomplishes in one year, work that otherwise would take about three years to complete.” It comes at a time when major Metro track problems and electrical fires seem to be increasingly commonplace.

The plan involves fifteen long-duration track outages between June 4 and May 8, 2017, to allow for extensive track work.

The goal: to achieve “safety and state of good repair of basic track structure.”

So what can Reston riders expect? First, there will be a moratorium on early system openings and closings — the system will close at midnight, seven day a week.

There are no outages planned for the new Silver Line track that opened in 2014. However, work on older portions of the Orange and Silver line will cause delays.

The following track outages will affect Reston Metro riders, according to WMATA.

Metro SafeTrack logo

Aug. 20-Sept. 6
Eastern Market to Minnesota Ave/Benning Road 
Impact: Entire line segment shut down
Service Reductions: Three lines affected. Orange and Silver lines running every 10 minutes, Blue Line running every 12 minutes.

Nov. 2-12
West Falls Church to East Falls Church
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Orange and Silver lines each running every 16 minutes, but with additional trains from East Falls Church to New Carrollton

Metro SafeTrack impacts for March 6-14, 2016Nov. 12-Dec. 5
East Falls Church to Ballston
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Silver Line running every 18 minutes, Orange Line trains from Vienna to Ballston running every 18 minutes

March 6-14 
West Falls Church to East Falls Church
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Orange and Silver lines each running every 16 minutes, but with additional trains from East Falls Church to New Carrollton

In order to maximize productivity, all of the track outages will be continuous and will affect rush hour service. For the line segment shut downs, buses will replace trains around the station closures.

The safety surge will not only affect Metro riders, it’s expected to affect those who drive as well, in the form of additional traffic.

Here’s what Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) had to say about the plan.

After the jump, the full press release from Metro.

Read More

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Metro SIlver Line Map/Credit: MetroMetro riders commuting to D.C. from Virginia are having a slow morning, after a fire in the District caused a wave of delays on the Blue, Silver and Orange Lines.

A fire at a substation owned by Metro, near RFK Stadium in Southeast D.C., at approximately 7:30 a.m. this morning closed the Stadium Armory and Potomac Metro stations.

As a result, Metro has suspended service between the Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue stations on the Orange Line and the Eastern Market and Benning Road stations on the Silver Line.

Trains on the blue line are running only between the Franconia and Rosslyn stations. Riders are being told to transfer at Rosslyn to the Orange or Silver Lines to continue their trip.

Metro is warning riders that there will be delays on all three lines.

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Metro SIlver Line Map/Credit: MetroIt could be a long afternoon rush hour on “Traffic Tuesday” — even on public transportation.

Just after 2 p.m., Metro said it is having problems on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines and that it has suspended train service on part of those lines.

Trains are not servicing stations between the Smithsonian and Farragut West stops. Crews were already single tracking in that area due to track work. But a train had a brake problem at the McPherson Square station and became disabled, causing the bigger delay.

As of 2:30 p.m., crews were working to move the disabled train off the line at McPherson Square. Metro says expect delays of at least 20 minutes in both directions.

“Traffic Tuesday” usually refers to the day after Labor Day, when most school buses return to the roads and commuters return in full force after staggered weeks of summer vacation.

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Wiehle Reston East Metro

The Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously agreed to send proposed changes in the Reston Master Plan on to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for approval .

The plan — which was formulated after nearby four years of discussion and numerous draft changes by the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force — was sent on with a few line item changes and last-minute motions. Read the entire revised document here.

Citizen development watchers Reston 2020 gave the final draft of the document — which will guide density, land use and future development around Reston’s three future Silver Line Metro stations — a letter grade of “D” when the plan was finalized last fall.

Reston 2020 was also not pleased with several changes marked up by Hunter Mill Planning Commission representative Frank de la Fe. Among them:

  • Allows additional “bonus” density for contributions to Corridor crossings above the already generous proposed development standards and “bonus” density.
  • Adds monetary contributions in addition to in kind contributions for vitally needed infrastructure improvements.
  • Eliminates the approval of Reston Association Design Review Board for new construction.
  • Says new institutional and government development uses should not be counted toward the development of workforce housing requirements to contribute $3 per square foot for new non-residential development.
  • Deletes plans for a parking study as needed to justify expansion of parking beyond parking space maximums laid out in the draft plan, relying instead on the phrase “suitable justification.”  The result will be excessive parking and greater traffic congestion, says Reston 2020.

However, at Thursday’s meeting, de le Fe verbally added these conditions, which were also unanimously passed:

  • A recommendation to direct planning staff to review with Reston stakeholders how to incorporate Reston design specifics into future planning. “Special attention to design has been a hallmark of Reston from beginning,” said de le Fe.
  • A recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to develop an inclusive process to prepare a funding plan for transportation improvements. “The planning commission strongly believes public and private investment in Reston is crucial,” he said.
  • A recommendation to conduct a detailed valuation and analysis of an enhanced street network, prioritize improvements and develop an implementation strategy for it.
The Board of Supervisors is slated to discuss the plan on Jan. 28.
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